Robert J. Collier Trophy
The National Aeronautic Association's (NAA) Robert J. Collier Trophy was established in 1911 by Robert Collier, publisher of Collier's Weekly magazine and an early president of the Aero Club of America. Collier commissioned the trophy to encourage the American aviation community to strive for excellence and achievement in aeronautic development.
Collier recognized the worth and future of aviation and stated that "the flying machine should be unselfishly and rapidly developed to its ultimate potential for America's economic advancement." According to the NAA, Collier was the first person to purchase an airplane from the Wright brothers for personal use. (Some state that Charles Rolls was the first person with that distinction.)
Collier "loaned" his aircraft to the U.S. Army for flight evaluations at Fort Sam Houston in Texas. This led to the first military orders for an aircraft.
The trophy is awarded annually for "the greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics in America, with respect to improving the performance, efficiency, and safety of air or space vehicles, the value of which has been thoroughly demonstrated by actual use during the preceding year." Its first recipient was Glenn Curtiss for his development of the hydroplane.
Collier died in 1918 after serving in World War I. The NAA, successor to the Aero Club, named the trophy for him at that time.
A list of recipients can be found at http://www.naa-org/website/html/awards/collier.html.